Voice of Scottish fundraisers 'must not be ignored'

The Fundraising Preference Service was among the topics discussed by voluntary sector figures in Scotland yesterday


Scottish fundraisers have warned that their voices should not be ignored in the debate around establishing a Fundraising Preference Service. 

Charities and charity bodies from Scotland met yesterday to discuss the key issues affecting fundraisers in Scotland.

One key issue for debate was the operation of an FPS, the proposed service that would allow people would be able to opt out of receiving telephone and direct mail fundraising requests. It was put forward by Sir Stuart Etherington in his review of fundraising self-regulation.

Mike Smith, head of media at the Institute of Fundraising and who attended the summit, told Third Sector: "There were concerns raised around the operation of the FPS and how that would apply to Scotland and Scottish charities.

"There was general desire to make sure whatever was being proposed took account of Scotland and Scottish voices.

"I think there wasn’t really a settled position of consensus reached around it but it was a general concern that if done in a bad way it could become a bad deal and could have unintended consequences from a Scottish perspective.

"In the absence of having a clear view of what it would look like there will be spaces for concerns to arise and be aired."

Another topic that was discussed at the event was whether Scotland should have its own system of fundraising regulation, rather than centralised regulation, or a hybrid option, with Scotland able to take control on some aspects of its own regulation.

"Again, although there wasn’t one solid conclusion reached, there were some strong views and opinions aired about it throughout the days," said Smith.

Many of the issues raised will be taken forward to the fundraising summit that will take place in London on 4 December.

John Downie, director of public affairs at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, who was also present at the Scottish summit, said: "It was fantastic to see so many charities large and small come together to explore what the future of fundraising regulation might look like in Scotland.

"The summit was a great start to an all-inclusive discussion about creating a proportionate system of self-regulation that works well for supporters, beneficiaries and third sector organisations which fundraise in Scotland.

"There are big decisions to be made, but judging by the lively debate at the summit charities are enthusiastic about making them.

"In early December we plan to confirm the membership of a working group of third sector organisations who’ll outline the next steps."

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